US 7308986 B2
A collection case combines a trading card with an actual piece of associated memorabilia to enhance its value. The collection case encapsulates the two items together in a protective plastic slab for safe keeping. The process results in a new collectable product of increased value.
1. A collection case comprising:
a case having at least a first compartment and a separate second compartment;
a trading card located in said first compartment, said trading card depicting a sports player, said trading card having two faces and a plurality of edges, said card being positioned such that each face and edge of said card being visible through said case;
a piece of memorabilia in a second compartment, said memorabilia comprising a portion of an item which was utilized by said sports player in a sporting event; said case sealing said trading card and said memorabilia, said trading card and said memorabilia being visible through said case; and
a grading report associated with said trading card, said case sealing said grading report, said grading report being visible through said case.
2. The collection case of
compartment is located in a lower portion of the case and said second
compartment is located in an upper portion of said case.
3. The collection case of
4. The collection ease of
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/917,613 filed Aug. 13, 2004 (now abandoned), which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/213,249 filed Aug. 5, 2002 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,827,209), which claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119, of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/324,005, entitled “Graded, Game-Used Memorabilia,” filed Sep. 21, 2001 (expired), all of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to collectable memorabilia. More particularly, the invention relates to collectable trading cards.
Trading cards are very popular collectable items for the sports and entertainment industries. Trading cards are often produced for baseball, hockey, basketball, football, soccer, golf, auto racing, comic characters, entertainers, and the like. A typical trading card has a photograph or image of a personality or character on a first side of the trading card, and related statistics, biographical information, or the like on the reverse side.
Collecting trading cards has been an American hobby for over 100 years. For many, the thrill of collecting trading cards is also financially rewarding. The value of a trading card may vary greatly, depending on the rareness and condition of the trading card. Rare, old cards can be extremely valuable. For example, an original Honus Wagner trading card in good condition from the 1909 through 1911 T206 Tobacco Set was recently sold at auctioned for over $1 million.
Due to their value, trading cards have become a significant “for profit” business. A large service industry has arisen around trading cards, offering services such as preserving and grading cards. The grading process includes determining a trading card's overall condition. Criteria used in evaluating condition typically include image centering, card cut, corner conditions, edging, surface condition, such as scratches or stains, post-production trimming, creases or folds in the card, and the like. To preserve the trading card's condition, it is often put in a “slab.” “Slabbing” a the term used to describe the process of encapsulating a card after its condition has been determined. Typically, a trading card is sonically sealed in a hard acrylic case and assigned a bar code for registration purposes.
Collectors and enthusiasts also purchase game, or event, specific memorabilia, such as game-used: bats, balls, jerseys, uniforms, flags, artificial turf, stadium equipment, hockey sticks, pucks, tickets, gloves, auto part, instruments, and the like. Dealers sell these items at high costs to the consumer, thereby limiting the availability of such whole memorabilia to the average collector or enthusiast. Accordingly, some dealers divide up the whole memorabilia and sell individual pieces of such memorabilia. For example, a dealer may cut up a game used bat to sell individual miniature bats.
Gluck discloses a memorabilia package in U.S. Pat. No. 6,142,532. The disclosed memorabilia card consists of a photograph with a piece of game, or event, memorabilia adhered to the surface of the photograph. The piece of memorabilia is mounted and positioned on the photograph where he image of the memorabilia appears in the photograph. For example, a piece of memorabilia such as a miniature bat manufactured from a game-used bat, would be mounted on a photograph of a batter in the location where the image of the bat would normally appear in the photograph. Unfortunately, mounting a piece of memorabilia to the memorabilia card diminishes any “collector's” value the card has, in and or itself. Thus, the value of the package is typically limited to the value of the specific piece of memorabilia itself.
It is desirable to provide collectors with a collection case that enhances the combined value of its individual components. Additionally, the desired collection case would be protected from damage.
In one embodiment of the invention a graded trading card is combined with an actual piece of associated memorabilia to enhance its value. The two items are encapsulated together in a protective plastic slab for safekeeping. This process results in a new collection case of increased value.
The case 12 is preferably made from hard acrylic, Lucite, or the like and is substantially clear. In one embodiment, each face and edge of the encapsulated trading card 12 can be viewed through the case. Case 12 preferably has internal stays 32 to prevent the trading card 12 from moving. Minimizing internal movement insures that case 12 does not damage the trading card 10. The case 12 is preferably designed such that it can be stacked for storage without scratching any viewing surface.
The case 12 consists of a front portion 34 and a rear portion 36. In one embodiment, the two portions 34, 36 lock together to encase and protect the trading card 12 and piece of memorabilia 20. Preferably, an inner sleeve is utilized to protect the trading card 10.
The piece of memorabilia 20 is preferably related to the trading card 10. For example, the piece of memorabilia 20 may be portion of the uniform worn by the player depicted on trading card 10, or a portion of ball or puck used by the player depicted on trading card 10 during a game. Other examples of suitable pieces of memorabilia 20 include, for example, pieces of a bat, jersey, uniform, flag, artificial turf, stadium equipment, outfit, hockey stick, ticket, glove, auto part, instrument or the like. For non-sports related trading cards, the pieces of memorabilia 20 may be, for example, a piece of a guitar pick or the like used by the entertainer depicted on the trading card. In a preferred embodiment, the piece of memorabilia 20 fits within a ⅝-inch square. Preferably, the piece of memorabilia 20 is purchased directly from the athlete or entertainer, an agent, or licensed memorabilia dealer to ensure authenticity.
In one embodiment, the collection case 8 is provided by a five-step process. As shown in
The collection case 8 is manufactured using a trading card 10 and piece of memorabilia 20 desirable to consumers. Trends in the memorabilia industry and consumer feedback are used to determine the collection cases to be produced. Preferably, the collection cases 8 are produced in specific series. A series of collection cases will may be identified by sport, release date, roster of athletes, memorabilia type, and the like.
As noted above, various criteria are considered when grading a trading card. For example, the criteria may include the edges of the card, the centering of the printing on the card, the corners of the card and the surface of the card. The grading criteria employed in one embodiment of the invention are presented in APPENDIX A. Half grades combine features of the grade above and below the actual half grade given to a particular trading card. Other grading considerations include combining aspects from specific grades to create a hybrid grade.
A collection case 8 (
The collection case 8 is distributed through various marketing channels and are marketed for sale in retail stores, television or cable shopping channels, proprietary Internet websites, and/or third party Internet auction websites.
Although the present invention was discussed in terms of certain preferred embodiments, the invention is not limited to such embodiments. Rather, the invention includes other embodiments including those apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art. Thus, the scope of the invention should not be limited by the preceding description but should be ascertained by reference to the claims that follow.